Terry Tate and Reebok: Knocking Governor Palin Unconscious (this is funny?)
October 20, 2008 by Sheryl Lee
So let’s see: a video depicting a violent attack on Governor Palin is not only okay and but just hilarious since she’s a public figure and is therefore fair game (asking for it). That’s different from hurting regular women, because violence against women is wrong.
Got it? Fictional violence against Governor Palin is fine, but real violence against regular women is wrong, because one is fiction (ha ha—awesome!), and the other is real (very very bad), and there is absolutely no connection between the two.
Riiiiiiiiiight—and football players never beat up women. Or kill them.
“Terry Tate”, a former football player who’s real name is Lester Speight, is a character originally featured in a series of Reebok TV commercials, where he appeared as the “Office Linebacker”, violently tackling people for various work-related infractions.
Lately, he seems to have re-invented himself as a political commentator. In the following YouTube video, he tackles Governor Palin as she converses with Katie Couric. After he hits her, she lies immobile on the ground, apparently unconscious.
Speight uses the same schtick in the anti-Palin ad as he did when he was knocking men over in Reebok ads. In the following ad from that Reebok campaign, Speight (as Tate) calls one of his male victims “bitch,” and threatens another, calling him “woman.” Does Reebok thinks it’s acceptable to degrade men by calling them “bitches” or “women”, as if being a woman is a shameful thing?
In a later Reebok ad, entitled “Sensitivity Training”, a busty, cleavage-flashing blonde forces Lester Speight’s character to suspend his reign as office enforcer, until he catches her making a sexual advance at a male mail clerk. He tackles her to the ground (but not unconscious). Is her sexy appearance indication that she was “asking for it”? Is that the message Reebok is willfully communicating—that it’s okay to assault a woman who presents as a sex object?
Lester Speight has taken the character and story from Reebok’s ad campaign and used it to depict a violent physical assault on Governor Palin. There is no appreciable difference between what Speight did for Reebok and what he’s doing now, as the original Reebok ads also depicted violence toward women and misogyny. Reebok needs to step up and take responsibility for this.
What you can do:
1) Let Reebok know that we expect a public statement disavowing their relationship to Lester Speight, and that you will boycott their products until they tell Speight to cease and desist (contact Daniel Sarro, Reebok Public Relations, at 781-401-5000 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org/);
2) Start an email chain: Circulate these videos to your list of contacts and ask them to take these actions, too;
3) Contact Senator Biden’s office and ask Senator Biden to denounce this violent anti-Palin ad. With his background in domestic violence legislation, Senator Biden ought to be eager to speak out against this deplorable video. Senator Biden’s contact information – (202) 224-5042, or email him from his website: http://biden.senate.gov/services/contact/.
The following quotes are taken from the first ad in the series, “Terry’s World.” In each case, the speaker is Terry Tate addressing a man.
Coz Triple T’s up in this biiiitch!
Break was over 15 minutes ago, bitch!
Get ready for the pain woman. The pain train’s comin’. Woo-woo! Woo-woo!
Any bitch-ass think I’da lost a step, ’cause of what happened?
The subsequent Reebok ads dropped the homophobic/misogynist terms from the script, probably due to complaints by the public.